It’s been a while and my notes continue to pile up as a result. Here are my [concise] impressions of seven well-aged whiskies from an impromptu Whiskyshare meet-up last week – five single malts & two blends. We start with the four Linkwood’s.
- N: Moorish creamy farmy barley straw with a custard-like quality.
- T: A sweet>fungal sipper with a likeable bolshy side. Spot on strength.
- F: Honeyed and creamy.
- C: Lovely aged bourbon action.
Scores 88 points
Linkwood 1989/2015 26yo Cadenhead Single Cask [324 bts] 50.2% WB90.11
- N: A nutty sherry cask turned eloquent with age.
- T: Rich, intense nutty sherry fungal. Tasty sugars with a unique character slant born from all that slow maturation.
- F: Waxy sherry with one spent match.
- C: Forgivably cask-heavy given its moorish consistency. Not hugely complex.
Scores 86 points
Linkwood 1998/2012 13yo SV casks #11772-11774 [btl #193/909] 46% WB84.33
- Good good. A thoroughly decent all-round malt with lots to offer, and a fine introductory Linkwood for the uninitiated.
Scores 85 points
- Another good all-rounder. Easy drinker, easy pleaser. Scores the same as I had it [same batch], a few years ago.
Scores 85 points
[Balvenie] Burnside 1989/2015 26yo Cadenhead ‘Small Batch’ [282 bts] 48.8% WB88.40
Burnside is undisclosed Balvenie with a teaspoon of Glenfiddich. The other way around and it would be called Wardhead.
- N: Very Balvenie-like and even Balblair-ish. Starts on chalky fruits that become richer & richer with an aromatic bouquet of ripe tropical fruits.
- T: Same again on those luscious fruits with a dry, chalky, sour<sweet profile moving forward. A good weighted body, thinning a touch later on.
- F: Custard creams served before the Rich Tea. Sour<sweet conclusion, reflective of the overall journey.
- C: Somewhat perfect. I could drink a bottle if it weren’t for the £200+ price-tag. Aren’t 1980’s bottlings looking rarer & rarer since the 70’s bottlings surged beyond their/my price point?
Scores 90 points
Let’s hope the inclusion of what’s left of precious Brora stocks is justified for this premiumised blend.
- N: A murky start with some movement towards vanilla treacle sugars. Very JW and not least because of the price, a very disappointing start. Blends huh!
- T: An old skool blended style for sure with a typical metallic touch. The form improves with time though the overall experience is brief.
- F: Not long. I picked out a clear Euthymol toothpaste note but wrote down nothing else.
- C: I wonder whether the Brora would have faired better on its own? Dodge a bullet and save your money for the Burnside. Further reading: scotchwhisky.com: Why ‘lost’ whiskies should never be blended.
Scores 84 points
A blend of Caol Ila & Invergordon.
- N: Like a firmly sherried Port Ellen, it passes easily as a single malt. Maltoporn Brigade alert as the nose waxes lyrical.
- T: Feels like a bourbon/sherry 30/70 split but this isn’t a cask-centric story. Whilst the grain remains suitably silent, we have alchemy.
- F: Ashy, sweet and sticky. Cask-y at the end however.
- C: One of the best smokers I’ve had in a while. This wonderful marriage achieved without the use of rare closed distillery stock – and this was cheap as chips when it came out. Can’t think why.
Scores 89 points
With thanks to Chris & Nick